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Diving back into history may be delightful or dismaying. KNKX's Nick Morrison delivers a daily dose of it with his signature humor and skepticism. Here's what happened on this day.

March 7: Civil rights marchers attacked by state troopers; Seattle's first telephone exchange

Bloody Sunday Identities
FILE - In this March 7, 1965, file photo, civil rights demonstrators struggle on the ground as state troopers break up a march in Selma, Ala. The world knows the names of John Lewis and a few more of the voting rights demonstrators who walked across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 only to be attacked by Alabama state troopers on a day that came to be called “Bloody Sunday.” A new project aims to identify more of the hundreds of people who were involved in the protest. (AP Photo/File)


Selma March - 1965

This date marks the first of three marches that cumulatively became pivotal to the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This first attempted march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Birmingham is arguably the most famous of the three. When the marchers, led by future congressman John Lewis (then age 24) among others, attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were viciously driven back by Alabama State Troopers and vigilante ‘possemen’ afoot and on horseback, using billy clubs and tear gas. Many marchers were injured; John Lewis suffered a fractured skull.

That evening, in a rather bitter juxtaposition of events, the ABC television network interrupted its programming to report on the march. And I say ‘bitter’ because the program that was interrupted was the first television showing of the 1961 film ‘Judgement At Nuremberg,’ a blockbuster about the Nazi war-crimes trials. This TV premiere was a big deal, so approximately 50 million Americans watched the report on the bloody rout in Selma. One minute viewers were watching a story about people being tried for atrocities in Europe in WWII; the next they were watching atrocities that has occurred that very day, right here in America.

Here's a piece I did for the NPR music website some years ago. It’s a collection of primarily jazz arrangements of songs which reflect the spirit of that era of The Movement.

Tina Turner record ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ - 1966

I’m bringing this event into today’s spotlight just so I have an excuse to share the song. It’s a powerhouse collaboration between Tina Turner and producer Phil Spector. Talk about ‘invigorating’…

The first telephone exchange arrives in Seattle - 1883

Sometime prior to 1883, a guy with the last name of Melse came up to Seattle from California. (This was back during the good old days when you could still come to Seattle from ‘out of state’ and not be blamed for everything.) Melse had apparently decided that phones were his future.

He set up The Sunset Telephone Company on 2nd and Cherry and went looking for subscribers to his new-fangled service—25 bucks for the installation and $2.50 a month thereafter. He ended up with about 90 takers; mostly attorneys and drinking establishments. Oh, and three judges. The History Link website lists all the original customers and even provides us with the four most frequently-called numbers—one brewery, one liquor store and two bars.

One of those four most popular numbers belonged to the Funk & Dickman Saloon. We may extrapolate that this high-tech innovation at Funk & Dickman also provided the Northwest with its first foray into prank phone calls.

Nick began working at KNKX as a program host in the late 1980’s and, with the exception of a relatively brief hiatus, has been with the station ever since. Along with his work as a Midday Jazz host, Nick worked for several years as KNKX’s Music Director. He is now the station’s Production Manager and also serves as a fill-in host on KNKX’s jazz and blues programs.

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